Stole a page from her Diary

“Dear Diary,

Sleep has been my drug these days. The darkness, the emptiness it brings has me addicted. I can stay up, face this unpleasant reality or just sleep and let silence take over. I can’t help choosing the latter. Every time I stay up I end up having pointless conversations with him in my head. Asking him questions, hoping that he’ll change his answers, he’ll tell me it was all a prank. Mind’s playing tricks on me, projecting moments of dread into my imagination constantly. It’s like it wants me to cry and empty my tear sacs out but they bloody don’t. My hands keep shaking at times, I swear it’s not the cold. We painted our picturesque dreams together, all it took was one moment and the colours were all gone. All that was left were black and white outlines, mocking me in my newfound loneliness.

Friends are trying to help but I can’t figure what they say, it’s just all too numb. They tell me I sit here and stare into nothingness all day. What they don’t know is I am talking, still talking to him. Wishing for the times when one ‘I love you’ would end any fight. Wishing that this is a bad dream and we’ll wake up all happy and together like we have always been. They ask me to keep doing what I love, but at this point of time I just love crying. It’s my last refuge to find solace.

Maybe because it’s my first time? They tell me we all get used to it over time. We keep falling in love, no matter how many times our trust is broken, our spirits shattered or our faith in them taken for granted. We always pick the pieces of what’s broken in us and walk this road called life, looking for someone who wouldn’t break but keep them safe.

I understand that, I really do. But what will make these tears falling on your pages understand? Who will tell them to stop flowing because that’s how the world supposed to be ? Who will tell this heart to calm down, these hands to keep from shaking ?  For once I want to smile and feel like myself again, without this burden of dead dreams and broken trust around my neck chocking me. But that’s a blurry and distant dream right now, so I am going back to my newfound love. Good Night!”




A Moment In The Moonlight

The sombre moonlight is irradiating her face, barely making it visible. Her hair dancing on the whims of the night breeze. Eyes with a brownish hue, through the depth of their vastness are saying things. Things that words can’t contain, things that you only understand but can never articulate. Her smile starts from the corners of her lips and your heart knows it’s its time of weakness. The smile runs and blossoms in a moment, taking your heart for a run full of palpitations. A gush of blood has risen up in your streams, you can’t hear the rattle of crickets anymore. Even with all your might you can only muster to hold her hand and pray. Pray that the moon remains perched, guarding both of you in this murky night. That the wind wouldn’t stop playing with heavenly locks of her hair. That these stars would keep twinkling, as if applauding her grandeur. That time would stay still for a while so you seize this moment, before you run out of time.img_6846

Meet Me At Our Funeral


These hurt but they’re lessons not scars.

Spring’s long over, welcome to our fall,

We needed darkness to savour the stars.


We were meant to but meant to fail.

These cosmos conspired and played us,

Sent to star in someone else’s fairy tale.


Welcome to the funeral, guests just two.

Hold and guide my hand for one last time,

As we word this eulogy that’s due.


Lost alone in the alleys of dreams we built,

In the ruins of promises of eternity.

Your company the drug and I, an addict.


We are dead but aren’t you and me reborn?

Catharsis of novated souls from our cadavour,

Croon the Happy Birthday song, don’t mourn.









Hey! Can we talk?

As a kid I yearned for people to talk to me. Every night I wished for a friend who would just talk, listen to how my day went. I was that weird kid in school. Had big hopes about growing up. Thought things would change, I would grow into a normal man who would have company. A man who would not spend nights sobbing into his pillow and seek answers that were never coming.

Now things are better. Wouldn’t call it normal, but at least they talk. And they talk a lot. I mean I didn’t change much, just crafted this wooden table. When they wake up from anesthesia I just tell them that their hands are tied because that’s how the rules of this game are. You can’t really blame me, I didn’t get my fair share of games as a kid, Did I?

Now they have to keep talking, like anything and everything they can to talk about. Usually they try to convince me how we should stop this game and how they are gonna die. It’s lovely having some chattering company I swear. I never interrupt them, see I am very serious about the rules. If I say a thing they would stop talking. So I let them speak for hours and hours. Until their voice is gone or they stop for a pause hoping that I would be lenient with the rules. But they always end the game with a loud shriek, every one of them. Sorry, Did I tell you the guillotine drops when it can’t detect speech?

My Personal Hell

I love my house. The curtains aren’t to my liking but I am still glad the paint on walls hasn’t changed. They have moved my favorite reclining chair to the basement and I am sitting here on this bean bag that my daughter loves. But I still love them, just can’t express.

10 years since our marriage, and she hasn’t aged at all. You know the kind of love they show in the movies? Yes, totally that, it was magical when we first met and it’s still magical everytime I see her. She’s seeing Mat these days. Reading her favourite magazine, cross-legged, she’s waiting for him to ring the bell. I can read minds, I swear.

Mat seemed like a nice guy when I first saw him. Honestly, he was. I was happy someone was taking my place in her life. He gave time to my daughter and seemed to genuinely care for her like a father should. And now? You know it. He ‘was’ the nice guy next door.

Me? I just died 5 years ago. They said I am going to hell. I knew. And then they sent me here, at my home. To roam and watch around. Can’t touch a thing, can’t say a thing. Just glide and watch. I was still figuring out what kind of hell is this? And then one day I realised I could sense impending danger to my family.

Cocaine has got better of him and his finances. Mat’s here, walked into our driveway with a shiny knife. She’s here waiting for him to ring the bell. And I am here, helpless, condemned to watch my family die in my personal hell.personal-hell1.jpg

The Prince Effect

In July 2006 an infant named Prince fell into a 55-foot deep hole and 24×7 media attention ensued. I don’t remember if it was the first ever of its kind but it was at least in my memory. We all prayed while being shown every moment from the rescue site. You can imagine the scale of importance when even DD News was covering it live. He was rescued after spending 48 hours in the claustrophobic hole.In the coming months we saw multiple reports of kids falling in borewells and holes. Some rescues successful like Prince’s while some weren’t.

Recently, we witnessed some appalling imagery. An Odisha man, Dana Manjhi was forced to carry his deceased wife’s body on shoulders for 10 kilometers because an ambulance couldn’t be arranged. It’s shameful as much as it is shocking. In the days that have followed there has been multiplicity of reports of people in backward areas being deprived of basic amenities. People carrying a dead body for her last rites in MP were not allowed to pass through fields as they belonged to the dalit social strata. Eventually the body had to be taken through a pond instead. Another deplorable incident from Madhya Pradesh came to light when a man was forced off a bus and left stranded after his sick wife died during the journey to a hospital.

Today, there are 3-4 new stories. Familiar ones, a father carrying his dying son on his shoulders, begging for help and ending up with just his cadaver when it’s too late. More and more stories of lack of basic medical care and ambulances are being brought up every day.

It makes one think. A lot about administrative apathy in the 7th richest country in the world but more so about how these stories would never be known if not for Dana Manjhi’s dead wife. Media attention to this issue is tremendous at this point and that’s the reason this heart wrenching stream of incidences is becoming staple. Just like no one cared about children falling into borewells before Prince fell into one, so many people have died undignified deaths and many will in future.

What concerns me more is that few months or even an year after Prince’s rescue the reports of kids falling into ditches and their rescue stopped. Similarly, we are going to milk the issue of a dead body being carried on a man’s shoulder for weeks, or maybe months and then go on with our usual uninformed lives because the topic died out or isn’t ‘hot’ anymore. The number of kids falling or the people dying were, and are, the same. It’s just that our collective conscience is woken up from its sweet slumber momentarily by what I call ‘The prince effect’. And then it goes back to sleep.

Epiphany of Justice

The stench of freshly laid cow dung cakes was having a visually noticeable effect on my cameraman’s expressions. For me it was nostalgic in a way. The thing with being a reporter is, you can’t procrastinate. Editors are always on your heels for the next big scoop. We broke the lazy silence of this village, courtesy to the sweltering Punjabi summer. After much inquiry we knocked on what was supposed to be Jarnail Singh’s house.

“Sat Sri Akal! Does Jarnail Singh reside here?” I tried to have an apologizing tone, looking at the apparent displeasure of the sleepy young lady who opened the door.

“Oh, Dadaji? Wait a minute.” She hastened back into the house, leaving the door half open.

After a while a man, who appeared to be her husband attended us. He had no idea what had happened and why we were looking for Jarnail Singh. We tried explaining as he told us about his family history. He was Jarnail Singh’s grandson. His father died few years ago, and his late uncle’s name was Satwant Singh. He escorted us to his grandfather’s room.

Jarnail Singh was 92 years old now. On the table to his right was a picture of his younger days. Presumably just after his marriage. Looking at his wrinkles after looking at that picture could make one understand the frailty of human life. His hands in state of constant shaking, barely managing to hold the rosary in his right. We were told that he didn’t speak or listen clearly anymore. We could try.

I took my microphone out, the cameraman switched on the lights and focused on the man seemingly on his deathbed.

“Your son Satwant was killed in a fake encounter in 1991, the court has given a life-term to 47 policemen today, how do you feel?” His eyeballs turned to us, but that was it.

I repeated the question loudly. I asked his grandson to try and explain what we wanted to ask. I wished it was like movies, he would shed a tear to signal his joy or pain. Not because I wanted to capture it for my newsbyte, I just wanted the man to feel a sense of justice. His senses failed him when it mattered.

More than his senses, we failed him. The justice that we as a society served, stale and fatuous. After 26 years, I knock on the door to congratulate a man that justice has been done. He’s there, but can’t feel a thing. He’s there, but justice was too late to his rescue. His ears must have waited for so long to hear that news but they gave up before it arrived. As I walked back and the whiff of cowdung stuck us again, I felt slight contentment that he couldn’t hear the insult we call justice, anymore.

Based on – 1991 Pilibhit Fake Encounter